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tions of all the tribes of Israel, “between the border of Judah and the border of Benjamin,” and it is said “shall be for TAE PRINCE.” After describing the boundaries of the remaining five tribes of Israel (the relative situation of which is also different from what they were formerly,) and again adverting to the measurements of this remarkable city, with the number and names of its gates, the prophecy closes by declaring of it, that “The name of The City from that day shall be called, THE LORD IS THERE.
In another chapter the same author continues: 6 "And I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” This celestial city is designed as the residence of Christ and the redeemed, and comes down out of heaven where it is previously "prepared,” and where it is now "reserved” for this purpose. “And I heard,” continues the apostle, “a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold the tabernacle of God is WITH MEN, and He will DWELL WITH THEM, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them and be their God.” Ver. 3. This we apprehend is that second city seen in vision by Ezekiel, in the holy oblation offered to the Lord in the new division of the holy land.
He calls it "the Most Holy place" and more frequently “The City.”
“There are many coincidences in the account given of it by John with that of Ezekiel. Of the names of its gates the prophet says, “And the gates of the city shall be after the names of the tribes of Israel;” and he particularizes the respective situations of the different gates by name. Ver. 31–34. The new Jerusalem, as seen by the apostle has also twelve gates, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel." Rev. xxi. 12. The arrangement of these gates is also precisely the same with that given by Ezekiel, viz. 66 on the east three gates, &c. » Ver. 13.
This city has an attendance enjoyed by no other; for “they that serve the city shall serve it out of all the tribes of Israel;" and a portion of the holy oblation is allotted for their maintenance.f Verse 18, 19. Of the new river (before referred to) Ezekiel says, upon the bank thereof, on this side and that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the
* The expressions prepared” “reserved" plainly have reference, where the apostle uses them, and also in the four last chapters of Revelation, to the saints, who are also the house and city of God. So that it is the inhabitants of the city whom St. John, (as I take it) sees descend; though he afterwards proceeds to describe the fabric of their habitation.
+ A parallel to this feature seems to have been intended by Mr. Begg, but accidentally omitted; unless he views the fruit of the trees being given for meat, in the next parallel, to apply to this also.
fruit thereof be consumed; it shall bring forth new fruit, according to his months, because their waters they issued from the sanctuary. And the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine. Ezek. xlvii. 12. So John also barrates of the New Jerusalem, that in the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life (not one tree merely, since it grew "on either side of the river," but many trees of one species, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." Rev. xxii. 2. How striking is the coincidence!
"That the apostle might have a full view of the wonderful city, there came unto him an angel who carried him away “in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed him that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God; and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal, and had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates," (v. 10-12.) A similar coincidence exists in their different accounts of the measurements of the city they severally describe. In all the works we have seen which treat of this point, a great discrepancy is indeed supposed to exist between the statement of the prophet and that of the apostle. But this mistake has arisen from an oversight of the fact, that while the one states the circumference, the other informs us of the square measurement. “It was round about eighteen thousand measures" of the angel's reed, was in length “six great cubits” of twenty-two inches each. Being a square, each “side” was “four thousand and five hundred measures” of the reed. Ezek. xxxviii. 32. But John, in his measurements, does not specify its length or breadth, but having mentioned that it is square, he gives the measurement accordingly. “And the city lieth four-square, and the length is as large as the breadth. And he (the angel) measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal." Rev. xxi. 16, 17. It was not the length, or breadth, or height, which the angel measured. These indeed he declares to be “equal,” but the 12,000 furlongs, instead of being the dimensions of each or any of its sides, as is commonly supposed, are "the measurement of the city”_"four-square.” We consider this, therefore, as neither the length nor the breadth, but as the measurement of the area of the city; and reckoning by the Jewish furlong of two hundred and sixty-six two-fifth cubits, as stated by Maimonides, on extracting the square of the measurement of the circumference of the city given by Ezekiel, we obtain a view by which the statements of the prophet and apostle
are found to correspond very nearly,—and which would probably correspond exactly, if the standard of Maimonides were perfectly accurate,—thus confirming the view of their identity.” Page 160
To this temple Mr. Begg finally refers Rev. xxi. 7. Ezek. xxxvii. 25–27, 1 Peter i. 4, Rev. iii. 12; and he thus concludes the chapter—"Much confusion has resulted from applying to the inhabitants of the new earth the character of the citizens of the new Jerusalem which descends out of heaven unto it. The distinction is obvious. While in the new earth Isaiah predicts there shall be both sin and death, the apostle John declares the exclusion of both from the holy city. Again, from the account of the descent of the new Jerusalem being placed in John's vision after that of the final resurrection and judgment, it has been supposed by some to be the place of blessedness after the millennium. But the order of insertion is of itself no criterion of the order of time. The apostle gives in succession different views; and when he has carried forward his narrative of one class or series of events, he returns to take up another, or to explain particular parts which would have occupied too much space in the narrative itself. The whole book is constructed on this principle; and thus (as respects the order of the chapters,) long after the announcement of the kingdoms of this world having become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, we have again brought before us the existence and success of antichrist. But, in all such cases, keys are given for the elucidation of the prophecy, and for determining the relative period of the several parts. In the case before us, the new Jerusalem descends to the new earth, and this is connected with the millennium by the prediction of the prophet Isaiah. Its relation to time and the things of time is farther evident from the fact, that the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it: “it must therefore be upon the earth, that they may have access unto it; and it must have a reference to this world while the relation subsists between kings and their subjects.” Page 162.
There is much in the last passage extracted which appears just; especially as it refers to the order of the insertion of an event in the Apocalypse not being any criterion of the order of time in which it will be fulfilled. But this is not the whole of the difficulty which attends the interpretation of the two last chapters of the Apocalypse. There are internal indices which seem to point to a later period of time for the fulfilment of what they describe; (i. e. down to verse 5 of chap. xxii.) though some of these Mr. Begg gets over by means of his system of interpretation, which confines the promise, that there shall be no more death, and the statement, that the apostle saw no temple therein, to the condition of the inhabitants of “the city" as distinguished from those of ancient Jerusalem, which is to be rebuilt won its own heap," or ancient site. Jer. xxx. 18. Still, it does not account for another circumstance; viz. that in the new heavens and new earth which are at that time created, there is no more sea;” (Rev. xxi. 1.) whereas the sea is existing up to the latest period of the previous chapter; since it gives up the dead which were in it, at the judgment therein described. * Verse 13. “Moreover, those who sit on the thrones in chapter xx. 4, live and reign with Christ a thousand years; whereas it is said of those in the New Jerusalem of chapters xxi. and xxii. "and they shall reign for ever and ever.' It is very evident also, from 1 Cor. xv. 24–28, that the state which immediately follows "the first resurrection” is one which is only introductory to a more complete and still more glorious one, wherein God shall be all in all. This I have before adverted to at page 139; and if I enter not here into a more particular description of that ultimate state of glory, it is because I think there is scarcely any thing revealed concerning it, from which an accurate judgment can be formed of details by us who live under the present dispensation. It has been the manner of God, under every distinct dispensation, to give additional revelation calculated to throw light upon the existing and succeeding one. Thus an immense and accumulative light kept growing up by means of the prophets from the time of Moses, until the return from Babylon; and a great further illumination of the church took place from the time of Christ until John received the Apocalypse; and I doubt not, but when the next dispensation is introduced, there will still be an increase of revelation, which will throw further light upon the millennial and ultimate states. Indeed Joel ii. 28, has yet to be farther accomplished: “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions;" and the whole nature of a dispensation, in which the saints will continually have personal access to Christ, must necessarily be one of increasing knowledge and illumination.
* It makes no difference as regards this point, whether the expression sea is to be understood as a symbol or literally. There seems to be no reason for interpreting it symbolically in the one place, and literally in the other: both must be alike; and in that case there is apparently a marked distinction between the state described in the one chapter and the other. Dr. Whitby, whose sentiments on some points of prophecy are singular, views the whole as figurative. He considers Rev. xxi. 1–5, as parallel with Isaiah Ixv. 17, and xliii. 18, 19; and as the new heavens and new earth mentioned in the latter places are contemporary, as he assumes, with the conversion of the Jews, so he concludes Rev. xxi. to refer to the same thing, and that it must be before the conflagration of the world, since that event would reduce the Jewish nation to ashes. Chap. ii. sect. 3.
It must nevertheless be observed, on the other hand, that there are passages in Rev. chaps. xxi. and xxii. which seem to forbid the viewing those chapters as setting forth events posterior in time to the state which commences at the millennium. For example, chapter xix. opens with the shout of triumph sent up on account of the judgment on the great whore; (verses 1-4.) and this is responded to by a voice from the throne, calling on the saints to praise God and to rejoice, because the marriage of the LAMB had come and his wife had made herself ready. Verses 5—9. Then comes the description in verses 1120 of the treading of the wine-press, the overthrow of the nations, and capture of the last anti-christian beast. This accords' with what has been previously said, that the rapture of the saints (or marriage of the Lamb) will probably take place prior to the Armageddon warfare, but after the final judgment brought upon the anti-christian ecclesiastical power described in the Revelation. Yet the new Jerusalem, which the apostle sees descending from God out of heaven, is described in chapter xxi. as no other than the Lamb's wife made ready and prepared for the nuptials, (see verses 2, 9.) which must be the same subject as that declared in verses 17-19 of chapter xix. There are expositors who conclude, that the saints will be caught up to meet the Lord, and remain in the air with the Lord during the whole of the millennial dispensation; only occasionally manifesting themselves; and that they will fulfil a similar office to the saints of the millennial dispensation, which the angels are now actively fulfilling to the saints under this. There does not however appear any sufficient warrant for this conclusion, though I do not dispute that it may be so; but as it is the duty of a writer on prophecy not to speak with confidence on subjects which he cannot clearly demonstrate, I therefore leave this, and the other matters just touched upon, in uncertainty, not having myself light to enable me to do more than name them.
There is one point however that remains to be more fully noticed, on which there is abundant and clear light vouchsafed; viz. the participation of those saints in the Jerusalem glory who have been previously called out from among the Gentiles. Human nature is ever prone to carry us into extremes; and whilst some have gone to the one extreme of denying any restoration of the Jews, and any Jerusalem glory on earth; others have proceeded to the opposite extreme of excluding the Gentiles from that glory. There will doubtless be a distinction